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Removing Screen Tips from the Start Menu

Rod from Delaware writes:

Can I get rid of those balloon tips that pop up when my cursor is hovering over something in the start menu? I have Vista Home Premium Edition.

Rod, this is an awesome question. This very same thing has been bothering me for a while. I spent hours researching this problem and still couldn’t find the answer anywhere. You can get rid of the balloon tips in the taskbar, you can get rid of the pop-ups over desktop icons, but there is absolutely nothing that shows you how to get rid of annoying stuff in the start menu.

Because you were kind enough to write to us (and because it was still bugging me), I decided that no matter what, I would answer your question – for both of our sakes. And guess what? With just a little help from the internet and a lot of common sense, I can answer your question.

Just so you know (and for future reference): The tips that you’re talking about (the ones that pop up by the clock) are called screen tips. The place on the lower right corner of your screen next to the clock is called the notification area. Here’s the breakdown:

Screen tips: The “balloons” or bubbles that pop up when you hover over an icon in the notification area. (The notification area is on the right side of the Taskbar, next to the clock.)

Screen tips: The “pop-ups’ or balloons that pop up when you hover over a desktop icon.

Screen tips: The “balloons” that hover over a Start menu item at the top of the right pane, such as Documents, Pictures, Music, Games, etc.

If you would like to understand the concept of all different kinds of tips being the same one a little (not a lot) more, click here [1].

Since you are running Vista Home Premium, I will show you how to get rid of the screen tips in the Start menu in the home editions of Vista. I will mention here, too, that if you get rid of screen tips in the Start menu, the pop-ups over the desktop icons disappear, too. There may be other places, as well; I haven’t seen any others that have disappeared, but I may not have run into them yet. In other words, Windows made it so that you can’t disable getting rid of screen tips in one place alone. (Just so you know.)

Warning: The next steps involve editing the Windows registry. If you’re unsure of how to proceed, please consult a professional! You have been warned!

If you want to edit the registry in any way, we recommend backing it up first. Things that happen in the registry cannot be undone and can wreak total havoc your system. Click here [2] to learn how to back up your registry.

Okay, before we begin: I usually start these kinds of tips by showing you with a screenshot how to go to the Start button, and then the Run box. I may have mentioned it a couple of times; if you would rather use a keyboard shortcut, just type Win + R (Win being your Windows key) and your Run box will pop up. If you still would like to access it through the start menu, the example is below.

Type regedit in the Open line. Left-click on OK.

This brings up your Registry Editor. Under My Computer, navigateto this key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER / Software / Microsoft / Windows / CurrentVersion / Explorer /Advanced

Note: If you would like to learn more on navigating the registry, click here [3].

To do this, just click on the little arrow to the very left of the HKEY_CURRENT_USER line.

You will now see a long list of little folders with arrows. The next thing you’re looking for is Software; go down the list until you see it, and then click on the little arrow to the very left of it, just as we did above. Keep doing this until you get to the end of the command (which is Advanced).

Okay, we have arrived at the place we need to be, to get rid of the screen tips in the Start menu. In the example below, you see two panes. The left pane is where we just were navigating; Advanced is highlighted.

In the right pane, scroll down until you see ShowInfoTip. Double-click on it.

After you double-click on ShowInfoTip, a box will pop up. Under Value data, enter 0 (zero) in the box. Click on OK.

Exit the Registry Editor by clicking on the X in the upper right-hand corner, or going up to File and clicking on Exit in the drop-down menu.

Log off, and log back on.

No more pop-ups in the Start menu!

Note: If you want to re-enable the screen tips, just do exactly what we did in this article, only instead of putting a zero in the box, you will want to put a 1 (one).


Putting a zero in the box means it’s disabled.
Putting a one in the box means it’s enabled.

There you go! Thanks for writing, Rod!

~ Lori Cline